Thursday, February 1, 2018

Winemaking and the wines at Tarara Winery (Leesburg, VA)

I have covered the physical and viticultural environments of Tarara Winery in a previous post; herein I cover the winemaking and wines.

As is usual with any winemaker worth his/her salt, Jordan Harris seeks to pick Tarara's grapes at the "optimal" time. He determines readiness for harvest based on taste (balance on palate), feel, seed condition, and his knowledge of the individual blocks and their historical relative performances.

The only sorting activity is carried out prior to the harvest. A pass is made through the block and any obviously defective grapes are dropped. Grapes are hand-harvested into lugs and transported to the cellar.

Both white and red grapes are de-stemmed. White wines are pressed with the free-run juice separated out.

Whites are barrel-fermented and aged in mostly used barrels for 10 months. The Chardonnay is aged for 16 months in tighter-grained, light-toast barrels for a total of 16 months. Whites are aged on the gross lees and stirred every two weeks. There is no racking.

Reds and Rosés are fermented in stainless steel with some whole berries included. The reds are macerated for 35-50 days on the skins. Jordan gave an example of the Tannat which was cold-soaked for 7 - 10 days, underwent fermentation for 10 days and then remained on the skins for 15 - 30 days. Depending on the ripeness of the seeds, delestage may be undertaken.

At the conclusion of our dialogue, we turned to a tasting of the wines that Jordan had set out.

We began with the 2016 Viognier from the Hill Block of Neveah Vineyard. This wine is made from grapes grown on 16-year-old vines and has not been subjected to malolactic fermentation. Beautiful light golden color. White flower, spice, mahogony, and a nuttiness on the nose. Weighty, with lime-lemon and mineral notes on the palate.

The fruit for the 2015 Bethany Ridge Viognier was secured from a 3-acre vineyard of the same name. White flower and matchflint on the nose. Ripe fruit and round mouthfeel. Not as much acidity as the Neveah. Slate finish.

The 2016 Neveah White is a blend of 45% Chardonnay, 12% Petit Manseng, and 43% Viognier. A complex nose. Layered. Citrus and burnt orange. Tropical notes on the palate. Weighty, with restrained acidity. Character on nose does not transit to palate. Lengthy, nondescript finish.

The 2015 Chardonnay was sourced from both the Road and Hill Blocks. Spice, oak, smoke, and charcoal on the nose. Medium weight on the palate and not as much acidity as I would have liked.

The 2015 Cabernet Franc is sourced from the Hill Block. Bright red fruit and spice on the nose. Red fruit and tar on palate. Not enough concentration.

The 2015 Long Bomb is a blend of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Cabernet Franc, 10% Merlot, 9% Syrah, and 2% Tannat with 78% of the fruit sourced from Neveah Vineyard and the remainder from Tranquility. Red fruit and spice on the nose. Great on the attack. Lean, with good acidity. Mid-palate woes but great finish.

The 2015 Neveah Red is a blend of 33% each of Merlot and Syrah, 30% Cabernet Franc, and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon. Red fruit with a hint of tamarind on the palate. Opportunities in the areas of concentration, structure, and complexity.

The 2015 Bethany Ridge Red is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Shows more concentration but linear.

The Tranquility 2015 is 25% Tannat and 75% Cabernet Sauvignon. Lifted red fruit, tobacco, bramble, and spice. Also linear.

Overall the whites were much better than the reds and the Viognier was the best of the whites.

©Wine -- Mise en abyme

No comments:

Post a Comment